Sunday, 29 December 2013

Last post for 2013...

WOW, it’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end so soon.  It’s late afternoon, not my usual blogging time, so I’m a bit out of sorts, which also comes with the holidays messing up the week.  I have a book and an audiobook to tell you about, then I will list my top 10 favourites for this year.

I decided not to write this morning because I wanted to finish reading Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson before writing.  I know I was hoping to finish it last Sunday, but with the power going out and the holidays happening, I didn’t get much reading done and so I’m behind.  It’s just as well, as I don’t think this one was her best book.  It tells the story of Tracy Waterhouse, a retired police investigator who makes an impulsive purchase one day that will change her life forever.  She crosses paths with Jackson Brodie, a not-quite-private detective who is looking for the birth mother of a woman in New Zealand which sends him across the UK and Wales in his search.  These two storylines have roots in the past, secrets that are decades old, but these pasts directly connect to current situations.  While this novel features the usual eccentric, flawed but all-too-human characters, situations that are both horrible and heart-wrenching, and the complex interweaving of past and present that I have come to expect from Atkinson’s books, this one seemed to lack a clear narrative that does not rely heavily on the reader’s knowledge of her previous books and their characters and events.  It also leaves too many unanswered questions, while offering too much information about other situations.  While I was anxious to get to the end, I was rather disappointed once I arrived.  I definitely preferred her others over this one. 

And I finished listening to an audiobook a few days ago, Think of a Number by John Verdon.  This thriller is the first in the “David Gurney” series by this author, an author about which I know absolutely nothing.  It tells the story of Dave Gurney, a retired police detective who is contacted by a former university classmate who has been receiving threatening letters and calls from someone he believes is from his past.  These calls and letters become more disturbing once Gurney gets involved, and when murders begin piling up, Gurney uses his expertise at solving complex puzzles and seeing the big picture to avoid more deaths.  It was an OK listening experience, as it was fast-paced and not-too-difficult to follow, but it was definitely not the kind of book I would read.  I’ve downloaded the next 2 books in the series, narrated by someone else, but won’t listen to them right now.

As for my top 10 books, here is a list, in no particular order:
Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison
Stranglehold by Robert Rotenberg
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet Cameron
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson
Watching You by Michael Robotham
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (oops, that’s 11… oh well, it’s my blog so I can include as many titles as I want!)

Top 10 audio books:
Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith (I really liked this trilogy!)
Trinity Six by Charles Cumming
First Degree by David Rosenfelt
Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt
The Serialist by David Gordon
The Vault by Ruth Rendell
Call for the Dead by John Le Carre
The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey

That’s all for today.  Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that 2014 is filled with great books for all!

Bye for now…
Julie




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